Thursday, 12 February 2009

Using traditional tuners for headless designs

A post on this blog contains some nice sketches of headless guitars with traditional tuners mounted behind the bridge. Some designs even had holes through the body for the tuners. That looked good, but it might be difficult to get a good hold of the tuners unless the holes are very big. Since tuner systems for headless guitars are few and expensive, using the old-fashioned ones in new ways is a viable alternative.

It struck me that a possible solution could be to mount the tuners on a metal plate in a hole routed through the guitar, the tuner knobs sticking up through the plate and the strings going through slots in the plate. I've fiddled around with designs like that before (only on paper so far), but in this particular case, with a tune-o-matic bridge, it seems especially straightforward.

On one of the sketches on the blog, it would look like this. Sorry about the artistic quality, the picture only serves to explain the idea.

I couldn't attach images to my reply on that post, so instead i put it here. Anyway, it shouldn't all be about T-beam guitars.

Monday, 9 February 2009

A magnetic pickup

Previously, I've talked much about piezo pickups. I had great expectations to piezo discs, because they would give me more freedom in construction, since I would avoid having to make room for traditional magnetic pickups. I still have expectations, but so far, I've not been successful in making or buying a suitable pre-amplifier. I've tried a couple of designs, but none have sounded very good so far.

For the sake of my own motivation, I took a little detour from the piezos and put a guitar humbucker on top of the strings. The distance between the two rows of pole pieces is 18 mm - exactly the distance of my strings. This makes it possible to mount it lengthwise over the strings. It gives acceptable sound, but the mounting bracket doesn't integrate well with the overall design idea of having a sleek stick for a bass.

On the other hand, it _does_ have a certain rustic honesty about it. And most important: now I can play the bass and get a decent tone, while I figure out if the neck should be a little thinner, rounder or narrower. As well as many other things.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Wooden sides

I made two wooden sides from some spruce, just to test how it worked. Also to avoid messing up my good mahogany plank with early mistakes. I routed the cavities for saddles, nuts, strings and tuners with an ordinary plunge router in a table. I have little experience routing, but the cavities do what they're supposed to.

I've tried to make the sides fit tight against the top flange by having the holes in the vertical flange just a tad higher than those in the wood. This way, when I screw it together, the screw tightens the wood sides towards one another as well as lifting them against the top flange. It works ok... if you see gaps, it's because the wooden sides are made quick'n'dirtily, not because there's something wrong with the principle itself ;-)

I'll be sticking with the spruce sides for a while. There's a lot of things that I am yet going to try out - and which will need holes drilled in the wood. The mahogany sides will have to wait until I've settled on a final design. This especially includes whether to make the neck thinner. It feels a bit too thick even for my big hands, so I might slim it down from 4 to 3,5 cm (that's from 1.6 to 1.4 inches). That will still be much thicker than a traditional bass neck.